The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of the biggest and best boxes you need to tick if you're travelling the North Island. This area has World Heritage status and the incredible volcanic landscape is a truly mind-blowing sight. The track is just under 20km long, so it's a full day hike that you need to be well prepared for, but it's totally worth the effort.
For those Lord of the Rings enthusiasts out there, this area is better known to you as Mordor, Mt Doom and Blackgate! You can read more about the film locations here.
This year, the Department of Conservation (who look after the park) are expecting their highest ever visitor numbers, meaning that the parking capacity at both car parks is quite limited. It is also important to note that the roads to the carparks are unsealed and narrow - so if you're in one of our bigger JUCY vans, or you don't want to worry about not getting a space - you might want to take a shuttle!
Taking a shuttle is a great option -
- you get to chill on the drive there, and rest your legs on the drive back
- you don't have to worry about parking, or the unsealed road
- you get to meet other awesome travellers - and maybe even meet a hiking buddy!
- take heaps of water - it gets pretty toasty up there!
- and snacks. But make sure you take ALL your rubbish.
- dress properly - sturdy walking shoes, thick socks, and comfortable activewear is going to make all the difference
- dress warmly - the weather can change suddenly up there, and there's nothing worse than walking 10km in a wet top, am I right?!
- Slip, slop slap - even on cloudy days the sun can be super harsh in NZ so don't forget sunblock and a hat!
- Take a cellphone and a map - the trail is easy to follow but you don't want to take any chances... plus you're going to want a selfie in front of Mt Doom, obvs.
If you do do the Tongariro this summer, make sure you tag us on instagram - we'd love to see you having the time of your life!